What does the next generation of location based social networking look like? Unless something shocking comes up, it's probably going to look like this: persistent location tracking, recommendations and deals based on personal location history and selective location sharing with friends. Those are things someone is going to nail and probably sometime soon.
One young startup called HipGeo thinks it can do it. Founded and advised by a very strong team, including some early Yahoo people, HipGeo has described itself as "Mint.com for your location" (cool!) and is in fundraising mode now. No launch date has been disclosed yet, but the information available online so far about the company indicates that this is one you'll want to keep an eye on.
HipGeo promises to let users do the following:
- build personal location diaries, including an automatic daily email summary of all the places they went and how long they spent there
- share trips, media and place reviews
- see where their friends are
- send and receive notes left at locations, for particular friends
- get discount alerts targeted to them based on their location, location history and psychographic profile
It sounds a little like Google Latitude, a little like another small startup called Geoloqi (our review) and a little like Facebook Places. In the HipGeo fundraising presentation that the company posted to DocStoc this week, there's no mention of geocoded datasets based on interests other than shopping nor is there any indication that this location service is finally going to be the one to make my location dream come true: tell me the history of the place I'm at. (I swear I'll pay a monthly subscription fee to have one fast button on my phone that will deliver news and historical information about the adress I'm at. Am I really so rare in that? Sadly, I probably am.)
Update: It turns out my cynicism is incorrect. HipGeo co-founder Rich Rygg says that the service will in fact deliver some place history!
"We've already pulled together city information for a New City Alert ('You've entered a new city, would you like to learn about it?') and will deliver the Wikipedia listing and more," he says. "We envision allowing people to sign up for Friend Alerts, Information Alerts, and Offer Alerts, plus the easy ability to share with your friends and family via existing social networks. Our plans for a place include both the HipGeo information and stats, anything available for the place on Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Youtube, or elsewhere. Those are the easy. It is very interesting to think about the history thread of a place, the neighborhood, the city, the state, the country, the geology....all starting with the geocoded location."
Yes sir, it does!
Given the team behind HipGeo, it's sure to be interesting. It includes former Yahoo execs Scott Daniel, Jeff Kunzelman and Rich Rygg. Advisors include very early Yahoo engineer and former Chief Technology Evangelist Ash Patel, CitySearch co-founder and CEO Charles Conn and eHarmony Chief Scientist and former Kaiser Permanente Research Director Galen Buckwalter, Ph.D.
Let's see what you've got, guys. The future of location based social networking is yours to innovate or execute your way to the top of.